The SmarK Rant for Prime Time Wrestling – 01.05.87
OK, might as well start on these as well. I had a whole bunch done from the 24/7 days, but there’s still tons here to cover, and since this is the time when I really became a fan of the sport, we might as well start here.
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and the Brain, who is very hung over from New Year’s.
Greg Valentine & Brutus Beefcake v. The Islanders
This would be from an MSG show in late 86. Gorilla very seriously contemplates which team would be deemed #1 contender by the championship committee. I would be very amused to see a championship committee meeting from 1987, where a group of lawyers sits down and votes on whether Killer Khan or the One Man Gang warrants the next shot at Hulk Hogan based on how convincingly they squashed Dusty Wolfe on Superstars that week. Maybe that’s just me. Poor Hammer gets double-teamed by the Islanders and they’re hitting HARD, as you can imagine with Greg Valentine and Haku. Meanwhile Gorilla starts subtly burying Brutus Beefcake as the weak link of the team, which of course paid off later. Brutus comes in and Tama works him over while Alfred Hayes reminisces about 1983, when we first saw Brutus Beefcake “and how green he was.” Dig that crazy insider jargon! We take a break as Gorilla needles Bobby back in the studio, pointing out that he doesn’t have a tag team at that point. Back with Beefcake getting some advice from Johnny V (and a foreign object). That advice? “Make sure to keep your gimmick fresh by changing it every two weeks.” Glad to hear he took that one to heart. The Islanders continue controlling him with chain wrestling while Johnny rants about “karate kicks” being illegal. Finally Hammer comes in to end Beefcake’s run of incompetence and powers Tama into a tombstone piledriver, although it looks like he was going for a shoulderbreaker and it just got away from him. Hammer goes to work and Beefcake comes in with an inverted atomic drop for two. Hammer tries the figure-four and Tama counters into a small package for two, but the Dream Team cuts off the ring again. Hot tag Haku, however, and he runs wild on Beefcake, allowing Tama to come in with an EPIC cross-body. Alas, youth and enthusiasm is no match for cheating, as Hammer drops him on the top rope ball-first and Beefcake gets the cheap pin at 16:22. This must have been the show-closer because the place was emptying out rapidly at the finish. Solid house show match. ***1/4
Hulk Hogan: The Year in Review. It still blows my mind that they drew MILLIONS off one clothesline and one piledriver. They milked that Orndorff program FOREVER.
Tito Santana v. Jake Roberts
From the Summit in Houston, with the rare commentary duo of Gorilla and Killer Ken Resnick. Jake works a headlock and gripes at the fans, but Tito slugs out of it. Jake tosses him, but Tito comes right back and fires back on Jake, and Jake bails to regroup. Back in, Tito suddenly hits the flying forearm, but Jake lands in the ropes. Tito drags him out and gets two anyway. Now that’s a pro. Tito works a headlock and Jake suplexes out, but Tito hangs on and goes to a chinlock instead. Jake escapes with a dramatic jawbreaker and now he’s all business. Well, in the front. It’s still party in the back. Jake slugs away and we take a break. Back with Tito missing a blind charge and now it’s Jake’s turn for a chinlock. He sits on Tito for two and that gets reversed into a sunset flip for two. They collide for a double count and Tito makes the comeback, but walks into the short clothesline. Jake gets two off that and dumps Tito, but is unable to loose his snake. Well maybe he had too much to drink. Jake keeps throwing cheapshots at Tito on the apron, but Tito tries a sunset flip and Jake blocks it and goes back to the chinlock as it becomes pretty obvious where this is going. Jake blatantly grabs the ropes to antagonize the front row, which is exactly the kind of thing heels don’t do anymore. Tito gets another comeback and he’s just such a great babyface, but Jake cuts him off with a boot to the head. Tito backdrops out of the DDT and gets the figure-four, but Jake throws the snake at him as the time limit expires at 20:00. Tito was such an underrated guy. ***
King Harley Race v. Sivi Afi
From Superstars, as Vince acknowledges that Race won the King of the Ring tournament to earn the crown. Afi misses a cross-body by a mile and Race finishes with the fisherman’s suplex at 0:30.
Back at the studio, Gorilla says exactly what I was thinking: Race looks like a goof with his elastic band holding on the crown because his head is too big for it. Bobby’s flustered reaction is great.
We review all the title changes of 1986: TWO OF THEM. Now there’s weekly TV shows with more title changes than that. So we get the classic Randy Savage win over Tito Santana with the GIANT pop from the heel fans, and the Bulldogs win over the Dream Team at WM2. What was with the tiny WCW-sized ring in Chicago for that show, by the way? Still hilarious that the Bulldogs kill themselves to win the titles and it’s Captain Lou and OZZY who get to celebrate with the belts.
The Hart Foundation & Adrian Adonis v. SD Jones, Danny Spivey & Mike Rotundo
The US Express works the Harts over to start, but Rotundo gets the heat for a bit before a pier-six erupts. SD Jones tries an abdominal stretch on Adonis, which goes spectacularly bad for a variety of reasons, and Good Night Irene finishes at 3:35 for Adrian. Nothing to this one. ½*
Hillbilly Jim v. Magnificent Muraco
Muraco is wearing a kilt and using Piper’s music, stemming from the awesome Flower Shop angle a few weeks prior to this. Jim rudely attacks the Fuj and STOMPS ON HIS HAT. Oh man, Fuji is gonna rib him good tonight. We actually get 4:00 into the match with absolutely nothing but stalling going on and take a break. A break from WHAT?! Back with Jim holding a headlock, but Muraco cheats to win and jams the dreaded Asiatic Spike into Jim’s neck to take over. However, Jim makes the big comeback with the bearhug, and Fuji runs in for the DQ at 7:52. Turrible. -*
Not exactly a barn-burner of a main event for this one, but a couple of really good matches highlighted the first hour, at least.